Has got to be the most amazing tool ever!
In this blog post, I'll be sharing how I clean a clients windows regularly.
We alternate between cleaning the inside and outside and just cleaning the exterior windows only every other time. (Hope that made sense).
When we clean the whole house I charge $225 for window cleaning inside and outside plus tracks, sills, and screens cleaned. When we clean only the exterior. It's $150.
This particular house doesn't have any screens on the outsides of the windows to remove, so I can bang the whole thing out with the water fed pole in about 45 minutes.
It's actually kind of fun too. I can clearly remember working all day long in my dead-end lawn care job to only bring home $90 bucks or so after taxes. Now you obviously have to pay taxes when you're self-employed. But I'm just saying'. Seems like a whole lot better lifestyle to me.
I could honestly write an entire book about the water fed pole system.
There is so much more to it than meets the eye. I know you know me. So I'm going to start off with all the important how-to stuff and pricing first. Then I'll share with you my personal story about my first experience with the water fed pole system.
You can buy a complete truck or van mount water fed pole system online or travel across the country and buy one. You can spend over $30,000 on a complete multi-stage water filtration system with an on-board water tank, batteries, power inverters, pumps, hoses, reels and all different size Carbon fiber and fiberglass poles.
I didn't have any start-up money personally. So I went to Detroit Sponge and got a basic bare bones system for $1,250. To the best of my knowledge, cleaning windows with a water fed pole system should be priced exactly the same as if you were climbing the ladder and doing it by hand with a squeegee. Just because it's easier and faster, by no means does that mean that you should charge less. That's why it cost more than a squeegee. And that's the whole point of technology. It’s to make you more money in less time.
I use the water fed pole system on residential homes 90% of the time because an available water spigot is always on site. When it comes to cleaning storefronts and plazas, very rarely do you have available water, so you’ll have to clean the windows by hand.
For small windows, I charge $3 (medium sized windows) $4 (large windows) or 5,6,7 even $16.
or an extremely large window that's four times the size of a regular size window, that you would count as 4 Windows.
When cleaning the windows with a standard basic water fed pole system. You want to hook up a standard contractor grade garden hose to the customer’s water spigot on the side of their house. The reason I suggest using a contractor grade garden hose is because it's thicker, more durable, doesn't kink or knot and allows more water volume to flow through the hose faster than standard or even cheaper garden hoses.
The hose hooks up to the first stage pre filter. Which is best designed to take out large sediments such as rust and sedimentary deposits that might be present in the water. The water flows from the first stage over to the second stage carbon filter which filters out lead deposits and any micro organisms in the water.
The third stage of the water filter is a carbon block filter which filters out almost everything except for the minerals in the water. I don't claim to know the exact science behind all of this, but I know it works.
You can now run your three stage purified water through a reverse osmosis filter.
A reverse osmosis filter is a membrane that is rolled up and housed inside of an aluminum metal or plastic tubular housing with water fittings on the end.
The bigger the reverse osmosis filter, the more water allowed to travel through it.
A reverse osmosis filter creates the same result as a water distillation chamber.
The distilled water process happens when you boil water inside of a chamber and lets the steam from that water transfer into a different chamber where it then settles and turns back into a liquid.
The water distillation process boils out impurities and the steam contains pure water.
If you have ever drank distilled water, it tastes completely flat.
A reverse osmosis filter creates a similar result, without having to have the complexities of a water distillation system.
Water must be completely filtered before going to an R/O filter because the membranes inside of the reverse osmosis filter are so tiny and small that they only allow the molecules of H2O to pass through them. If you run direct tap water through a reverse osmosis membrane, you will probably dirty up and destroy that expensive filter within the matter of a couple window cleaning jobs.
This is the reason for a multi-stage filtration process. One filter takes out the big stuff. The next filter takes out the smaller stuff. The next filter takes out that even smaller stuff. And the reverse osmosis filter now takes out literally everything except for some left over microscopic minerals on the table of elements. I would like to mention that a reverse osmosis filter is not absolutely necessary in a water fed pole system.
And while we're on this topic, neither is a 3 stage water filter either.
In fact you can run dirty tap water from a customer’s spigot, directly through the D/I resin tank and It will come out completely pure, containing 0.00% total dissolved solids.
Pure clean water, or as in the medical field they call it “hungry water”, or “deionized water”, Because it literally sucks and absorbs nearby minerals and dirt particles from its surrounding environment. It has negatively charged ions that are hungry to become rebalanced.
The bronze resin silica beads inside of the DI tank have negatively charged ions that literally suck and magnetically make minerals in the water stick to it like a super filter, that in the process, the molecules of pure H2O are the only liquid exiting the DI resin filter.
Although this is a very cheap option to get started. I would not recommend using a water fed pole system with only a DI tank hooked up to a water supply.
Reason being, DI resin is very expensive and you will be running through it very quickly. Therefore your price per gallon of water will be very expensive because you will have to replace the DI resin in your tank more frequently.
This is the reason for a pre-filter, sedimentary filter, carbon filter, carbon block filter and reverse osmosis filter are necessary before the DI filter.
This is where you hear the stories about RO/DI. It means that filtered water is running through a reverse osmosis filtration system and then being deionized through a DI tank.The reason an RO system is so expensive is because in almost all cases the city water pressure is nowhere near high enough to force the water through the microscopic membranes of the reverse osmosis system to allow enough pressure to come out of the Jets to clean the windows.
If you don't put at least a “100 PSI or 350 gallons per day” electronic pump in line between the water filters to force the water through. The the water product will just drizzle on to the windows and not be effective. You can buy a professional pump online or you can buy a cheap one at Harbor Freight and wire it all up yourself. This will take some experimentation and testing and probably some frustration to get it correct but you can also look online and on YouTube and see tons of examples where guys have created their own reverse osmosis systems with electronic pumps that shoot water out of their water fed pole systems.
In some cases I've seen window cleaners use multiple pumps or variable electronic pump systems Up to 300 PSI or more that create enough pressure to split the line and use two water fed poles at once.
This is freaking awesome but it's also expensive and takes time to get to that point.
When you run a water fed pole system through a multi-stage filtration process like the one described above. Your price of water per gallon become so extremely low and inexpensive that your expenses become almost non-existent, because all you're ever finding yourself replacing are the pre filters on your system.
Now if you're cleaning hundreds of Windows and doing hundreds of jobs a month.
Then of course you're going to replace the reverse osmosis and Di filters more frequently, but dramatically less than compared to not having all these pre filters in place.
But studying pure water technology is an absolute must if you want to understand why the water fed pole system works the way it does.
Because if a customer asks you one day and you're not properly educated, you won't have any qualified answers to backup your claims as to why this thing actually works and why it works better than ladders and squeegees.
Next...Is a very important tool. Professional window cleaners use something called a TDS meter or a total dissolved solids meter. Just like an electrician would use a Multimeter or a light tester. . This is something similar to a thermometer that you would stick in your mouth to measure a fever but instead it has two metal diodes at the end that you stick inside of the pure water coming out of the end of your water fed pole. It measures the amount of total dissolved solids in your water product in parts per million.
The exact specifications vary according to who you ask, but anything over 15 to 20 parts per million is bad because it shows that minerals are still existent in your water and will leave spots all over the glass. Perfectly clean pure water through this technology should always show up at 0.00 parts per million. and you should also test you are water product at every single job or at least and every single different city because different cities have different levels of minerals present in their tap water. Also the reason to carry a total dissolved solids meter on your truck or van is to test the water frequently to let you know and gage when is the right time to replace the filters in your system.
Note: Partly, what makes windows dirty are minerals from rain water built up on the glass. In severe cases they create what is called “hard water mineral stains”.
Even though you can clean glass with tap water solution and a squeegee. A squeegee still wipes all of the water off of the glass. So the result is a spot free window.
On the other hand. The water fed pole is different because there is no squeegee to wipe off the glass. The glass has to dry “spot free”. If you use tap water with a water fed pole system the result would leave a hazy, milky film of minerals all over the windows.
That's why the water fed pole system requires “super filtered mineral free water”, Because it leaves the windows spot-free. Similar to the spot-free rinse at a carwash.
I would like to tell you about the time when I was so embarrassed after we left a customer's house. I was so proud after doing a great job cleaning their windows with the water fed pole system. Only to get a call a couple hours later that every single window on their house looked like somebody had splashed hazy milk all over the windows.
We had to come back and clean the entire house for free because I wasn't aware that the DI tank had used up its resin and now was spitting dirty mineral filled water all over the customer’s windows.
I don't want you to make the same mistake. So test your water with a TDS (total dissolved solids)”Around $20 at DetroitSponge.com” meter to make sure the water is always within the proper Purity levels. So you can leave your customers and their windows with a great end result.
Now for the actual water fed poles. You can get all different types of poles made by every single major window cleaning brand from Ettore, to Unger, and many more.
They start out from as small as 15 feet and go all the way up to 85 and possibly even 115 feet.
The water fed poles are made out of fiberglass or carbon fiber materials which are extremely light, flexible and easy to maneuver. There are different levels of telescoping chambers and collars that make the water fed pole system work by allowing it to collapse in on itself in a tubular fashion. Then as you extend the poles, one by one.
They telescope all the way up to the sky and lock into place with locking fastener collars.
Running From the DI tank all the way to end through the middle of the water fed pole, is a long rubber tube that carries the water all the way to the top where it exits out of the gooseneck and brush. Hence; the water fed pole.
Then the water travels through a splitter and exits out of two jets that shoot water from inside of the brush head and onto the glass. In my experience, if the water pressure in the city you are working in is not very high, then you cannot extend the water fed pole more than 15 feet because the upward gravity pressure increases. This is similar to water being pumped up a skyscraper for the tenants inside.
Without enough water pressure the water will just dribble out of the pole.
In most cases, the water pressure is high enough for you to extend all the way up to 35 feet without an issue. But once you get into water fed poles that are 45, 55, 65, 75, 85 feet. You definitely need to start buying and installing pumps in order to force the water to shoot out of the jets with enough pressure in order to rinse the glass off more efficiently and faster.
Does this all makes sense to you? See, you can get started with a water fed pole very cheaply for about $1,200 bucks. That's $650 for the pole and brush and another couple hundred dollars for all the tubing and attachments. About $400 more for the DI tank and a basic dolly to strap it to. Now with your mobile water fed pole system you can pull it out of your truck, van or trailer and wheel it right over to your customers spigot and hook it up with a garden hose.
Then have a 150 foot water tube line go from the DI tank all the way to the pole.
This allows you to walk around a customer’s entire house without having to move the tank...so you can clean the windows efficiently.
When you get into cleaning homes or commercial buildings that are over two stories you will need to start investing more money and finding ways to filter the water better so you can reach higher than you did before.
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